German submarine U-242

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-242
Ordered: 10 April 1941
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 676
Laid down: 30 July 1943
Launched: 17 December 1942
Commissioned: 14 August 1943
Fate: Sunk by a mine in April 1945[1]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296.
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Service record[3]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(14 August 1943–31 May 1944)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 June–5 July 1944)
5th U-boat Flotilla
(6 July–4 July 1945)
8th U-boat Flotilla
(1 August 1944–15 February 1945)
5th U-boat Flotilla
(16 February–23 March 1945)
5 U-boat Flotilla
(24 March–5 April 1945)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Karl-Wilhelm Pancke
(14 August–February 1945)
Oblt.z.S. Heinz Riedel
(February–5 April 1945)
Operations: Seven:
1st patrol:
8–26 June 1944
2nd patrol:
17–20 July 1944
3rd patrol:
23–26 August 1944
4th patrol:
21–28 September 1944
5th patrol:
5–9 October 1944
6th patrol:
17–30 January 1945
7th patrol:
4 March–5 April 1945
Victories: Three

German submarine U-242 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 30 September 1942 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 676, launched on 20 July 1943 and commissioned on 14 August under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Karl-Wilhelm Pancke.[3]

After training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla at Kiel, she went to the 3rd flotilla to work operationally from 1 June 1944. She then returned to the 5th flotilla on 6 July and moved to the 8th flotilla for operations on 1 August. She was reassigned to the 5th flotilla a third time from 16 February 1945.

In seven patrols, U-242 sank two ships totalling 2,095 gross register tons (GRT) and an auxiliary warship of 500 tons.

She was sunk by a mine in the St. George's Channel in April 1945.

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-242‍ '​s first patrol, like most of the others, was carried out in Norwegian and Baltic waters.[4] She had already made the short voyage from Kiel to Stavanger in Norway in May 1944; her first patrol proper started from the Norwegian port and terminated in Bergen, also in Norway. She then spent some time shuttling between Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Kiel, Reval (also known as Tallinn in Estonia) and Helsinki in Finland.

2nd patrol[edit]

The boat's second foray was similar to the first, a series of short 'jabs' from Helsinki and Grand Hotel.

3rd patrol[edit]

U-242 sank the Soviet barges VRD-96 Del'fin and the KKO-2 on 25 August 1944; one day before returning to Helsinki.

4th, 5th and 6th patrols[edit]

More round-robin journeys were carried out, travelling between Paldiski (known to the Germans as Baltisch Port), Windau in Latvia (now known as Ventspils), Pillau (Baltiysk), Danzig (Gdańsk in modern Poland), Horten in Norway and Kristiansand. It was during her fifth patrol that the Finnish ship, the Rigel, was sunk on 28 October 1944 by a mine laid by U-242 on 21 September.[5]

7th patrol and loss[edit]

For her seventh sortie, she was sent to the waters off southwest Britain. This was to prove her undoing. On 5 April 1945, she struck a mine in the St. Georges Channel (between southeast Ireland and Wales), off St. David's Head. Forty-four men died; there were no survivors.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Displacement Fate[6]
25 August 1944 KKO-2  Soviet Union 600 Sunk
25 August 1944 VRD Del'fin  Soviet Navy 500 Sunk
28 October 1944 Rigel  Finland 1,495 Sunk (Mine)


  1. ^ Kemp 1999, pp. 204-5.
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72-74.
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-242". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War patrols of U-242". German U-boats of WWII - 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-242". German U-boats of WWII - 


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German) IV (Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler). ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°02′09″N 5°46′08″W / 52.03583°N 5.76889°W / 52.03583; -5.76889